Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Wild question: A long-ago tag

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Over the years, readers have sent some wonderful questions for the Mailbag in the Sunday outdoors page in the Sun-Times, but Dave McDonald sent a first of its kind whaisit.


He e-mailed,

``While out metal detecting recently I found a metal tag. The tag says 1938 Illinois Dept. Conservation and a number--V17646. Is this an old deer tag or something else?''

That is the kind of question I love.

I reached out to Mike Conlin, who retired a couple years ago as chief of Illinois' office of resource conservation and had three decades prior to that as Illinois fisheries chief.

He said, ``A quick look makes me think that it is a tag for a basket trap, seine, hoop net or gill net.''

Conlin said that in 1907 the first commercial license was required in Illinois to use a seine to harvest fish.

That fits with where McDonald, in a follow up e-mail, told me that he found it in ``a park in South Holland'' next to the Calumet.

Any additional thoughts from readers or experts, not that readers and experts can't overlap, please post below or let me know at

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 26, 2011 7:29 AM.

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